I'm Nothing (The Family Book 2), page 6
“Donnie?” Zara said, and his friend held his hand up, silencing her.
“I went over all the papers that Zara gave me, from the house, to the pizza shop. I also went through all of your expenditures. No wonder Zara was scrambling her brain at the figures. They don’t fucking match up. The money your good husband paid on refurbishment cost five measly little grand, but it states he owed over fifty. Tell me, Mrs. Summers, what the fuck is going on?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Donnie laughed. “Mrs. Summers, I’m not a fucking idiot. Your daughter may be loyal to you, but I killed my own father for crossing me. I don’t have any such loyalty. I suggest you start talking.”
She put the cup down and shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mr. Martinez.”
Even Zara pulled away from her mother, looking confused.
“What is it?” her mother asked.
“I never said their names, or who they were, Mom. How did you know that?” Zara asked.
“No, you said their names.”
“I said Donnie, Luiz, Tonio, and Jake. Nothing else. How did you know his last name?”
Tonio was suspicious and knew without a doubt the woman was hiding something.
“Not close to you, Mrs. Summers,” Donnie said. “I suggest you start talking, as otherwise this is not going to go well for you.”
Tonio stepped close, putting his hand on Zara’s shoulder, offering her support.
She placed her hand over his.
Tonio didn’t get it. He didn’t understand it.
His feelings for her confused him.
Whenever he was near her, he had this urge to protect her, to make sure no one ever hurt her. Not only did he feel the need to protect, he didn’t want there to be any secrets between them.
What the fuck was that all about?
There were so many secrets from his past that he didn’t want known, but they were.
“I know who you are.”
“How did your husband die?” Donnie asked.
“It was a heart attack.”
“My husband handled everything with Mr. West. I just, I cook pizza, and I stayed out of it.”
Mrs. Summers turned to her daughter. “I’m sorry, Zara. We failed you.”
“Why don’t we take this from the top, without lies and without the bullshit?”
“Over five years ago, my husband and I, we were struggling. Pizza wasn’t selling, and the mortgage on our house needed to be paid. One night, he went next door to the local massage parlor, and that is where he met your father, Mr. Martinez, Anthony, and Lucien West.”
“I can’t believe this,” Zara said. “You lied.”
“Your father made an agreement to clean money, and in return, we got to keep our shop, free of charge.”
Zara pulled away, pacing up and down. “All this time, the debts, what the fuck was that about?”
She looked ready to kill her own mother. It was rather strange to see the look of murder on someone else.
“Wait? If there wasn’t supposed to be debts, than what the fuck have I been doing?” Zara asked. She ran her fingers through her hair, and Tonio couldn’t look away. She looked so sexy in a disheveled kind of way.
“Something went wrong, didn’t it?” Donnie asked.
Mrs. Summers nodded. “Yes. Something went wrong, really wrong.”
Tonio watched her shudder.
“What happened?” Zara asked.
“One night, my husband was serving pizza, and Anthony comes with Lucien. They carry through the shop three people.”
“They were alive?” Luiz asked.
“They were alive, and, erm, they were covered in blood. They made us close up shop.”
“Where was I?”
“On a field trip with the school. You weren’t there. Thank God.”
“What happened?” Jake asked.
“We closed up the shop, and there were two guys and a girl, a whore, they said. I don’t know why they were at the shop, or what they had done. Betrayal, theft, or something, I don’t know. All I know was that the pizza shop had to be completely cleaned by a professional team. The murders affected my husband so that it drove him mad. He wanted out of cleaning money, of being a goon as he called it. One visit from Lucien West, a doctor, and my husband was in the hospital from a heart attack. I was told to keep my mouth shut otherwise they would kill me, and then come for my daughter. Only Zara wouldn’t be killed. One day, Lucien came into the shop not long after my husband passed, and told me I owed him money. He gave me the paperwork that you have seen, and said I was to start making weekly installments. I tried to argue with him that we didn’t owe him anything. He threatened to kill the both of us. That’s how the debt began. He just took, and took, and there was nothing I could do. He called in the old debt that my husband had taken out. We hadn’t been paying on it while we were cleaning money, but we apparently weren’t clear of it. And I needed more money since I couldn’t do all the work by myself, so I had no choice but to keep on borrowing.”
Donnie stared at her. “What does Lucien do?”
“He comes in, and he takes the money, and he leaves.”
“Last night he didn’t,” Tonio said, recalling the way Lucien was forcing himself onto Zara. He wanted to hurt the bastard all over again. Something told him that Lucien had been planning for this all along.
“Last night was the first time that he ever did that. Lucien is never alone with my daughter.”
“I can’t believe this. I didn’t go to college because of this.”
“I wasn’t allowed to send you to college. You don’t understand, Zara. Your father, he organized everything, I was just doing as I was told. They would have killed you.”
“Doing as you were told? I almost got raped last night. My entire future was wrapped up in fucking pizza, and your only excuse is that it was Dad’s fault?”
“Tonio, take her out. I want to keep on talking.”
He moved forward, ready to leave himself.
“No, you don’t get to move me from this. You’re a fucking coward, Mom.”
Banding his arm around her waist, Tonio stopped her from causing a scene by tugging her outside of the apartment.
“Let me go. This is not fair. None of this is fair.”
Luiz closed the door behind him, and Tonio pressed her up against the wall. She was clearly struggling with everything that was happening. “Let me go. I want to find out everything.”
“Some shit you don’t need to know.”
“She lied to me, Tonio. They all lied to me, and I just can’t—”
“You can’t what? Let it go? You’ve got no choice.”
“They took that choice away from me. Look at where we are now. You had no choice but to save me because of her.”
Tonio shook his head. “I didn’t have to save you, Zara. Anthony Martinez. I used to work for him. Lucien was just another goon, but something tells me someone is trying to run a different show. You’re not from The Family, so you don’t know what this all means. Going at your mother, it’s not the answer.” Tears were falling down her cheeks. “Calm down, baby.”
“I … can’t.”
“We’ve got no choice. Breathe.”
“I stopped everything for my parents. I stopped college, and my future.”
He stroked her cheek. His heart was breaking for what she had lost, and wishing he could change that. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I promise. Come on, let’s get you back to my room.”
Wrapping his arm around her waist, he helped her walk toward his apartment door. “I’m so scared.”
“You don’t need to be scared.”
“I worked in a place that had people killed. That is so sick and twisted. I hate it.”
“I can’t believe I’m living with a guy who works for the mafia.”
“I don’t work for them. I am one of them. Donnie, Luiz, me, and Jake, we took over a few months ago.”
“How do you take over?”
“You kill the people who are in charge, and anyone who threatens to overthrow them, you kill them, too.”
“Wow, you seemed like such a nice guy who copied from me. All this time, you’ve been a killer.”
“It’s what I’ve been trained to do.” He kissed the top of her head. He couldn’t help it.
“God, what the hell am I going to do?” she asked.
“You can stay with me. I don’t mind.”
“I can’t stay with you forever.”
“Why not? I’ve not got anyone sharing my space. There’s more than enough room for you.” They stopped outside of his apartment. “I’m not going to pressure you to leave.”
“Going back to the pizza shop is not an option. They tortured and murdered people there.”
“You’re not cooking in their mess though. It was cleaned up.”
“It doesn’t make me feel better. I can’t believe she lied to me. I’ve been working my ass off since my father died, and he told me to take care of my mom. Now look what is happening.” She shook her head. “Sorry, I shouldn’t moan.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ve got to head back. We’ll talk later?”
He opened the door and watched her enter. Just as he was about to close the door, she called his name.
“Don’t mention it, babe.”
“Donnie told me what happened. I’m really sorry,” Paige said.
Zara nodded, searching the cupboards. After everything she had just been told, she needed a strong drink, a stiff one.
“What are you looking for?” Charlene asked.
“Alcohol. Anything that will numb this … feeling.” She was shaking, and her mind was all over the place going from crazy to worse.
“There’s beer in the fridge,” Paige said.
Just as she was about to concede on the whole beer front, at the back of the cupboard she found a bottle of scotch.
“Ahha.” She grabbed the bottle and a glass, which she’d already scored. “Does anyone want a glass?”
“I’m pregnant,” Paige said.
Charlene shook her head. “It’s the morning.”
“It sure is. Can you believe I was making pancakes a few hours ago? Probably not even that.” She looked toward the clock, and saw it was indeed only a couple of hours ago. It wasn’t even lunch time, and she was hitting the stuff hard. She poured out a generous shot and downed that quickly.
Zara coughed, spluttered, and went in for a little more. “Wow, that stuff is strong.”
“Do you think you should be doing this?” Paige asked.
“I’ve just learned that my parents lied to me. My father was killed because of some bad shit that he was involved in. Right now, the only way for me to deal with everything that I’ve found out is to drink. I’ve got to drink.” She poured a great deal more into the glass, and swallowed it back. “Damn, that is good.”
“Is she usually like this?” Charlene asked.
“I don’t know. We were never really close growing up.”
“No, we weren’t. I was just the loser kid that Tonio copied from. No one ever gave me the time of day, but that’s okay. I’m used to being passed over. I’m not pretty. I’ve got the smarts, but that’s about it. No one wants in my pants either. I’m too fucking ugly. You’d have to actually wear a bag over my head.” Another drink swallowed, she gave a whoop, and did another. “Fuck me, I need a stiff one.”
“Zara, that’s a lot of alcohol.”
“Well, guess what, it’s just the start. I’ve always been the good girl. The good daughter. I always thought that by being good, meant I was going to do okay in life. Guess what? It’s a fucking lie. There’s no point in being good. Someone will fuck with you regardless, and you’re left with this pile of shit that is stinking up the place.”
“Sweetie, stay in the living room,” Charlene said.
“I never thought it was possible to hate life, and yet that is exactly what I do. I hate life. More importantly, I hate my life, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m probably rambling.” She sipped at the drink this time. “God, that is so good. Do you know any places that will be open right now, and I could drink?”
“No, I don’t.” Paige rubbed her stomach.
“You know, I always wondered about that. You and Donnie were step-siblings but that didn’t stop you getting it on.”
“At school everyone was going crazy, calling you guys sick and incestuous. Some people are so dumb. Don’t they realize that you have to actually be blood related to be called incestuous? You and Donnie are not related.” Zara chuckled. She always found it funny when someone said that.
“What’s going on?” Tonio asked.
He was followed by Donnie, Jake, and Luiz.
“She’s getting drunk.”
Zara stared down at her glass. “I want to get fucked up. Do you know a place that will allow fun, partying, and maybe even some drugs?” She wanted to get radical. For once, she wanted to break her cycle of being the good girl.
“What is all this?” Donnie asked.
“This is what happens when you’ve just realized that you’ve been royally fucked but you’re still a virgin.” She burst out laughing. “God, that’s funny. Can you imagine actually having sex? I can’t.” Running a hand down her face, she shook her head, giggling. “So, how about that fun?”
“I can take you,” Tonio said.
“We don’t have time for this.”
“Lucien is out there. You’ve got to talk to Jake’s father. You may as well do that without me, and I think she’s earned the right to get fucked up. I’ll take care of her.”
“I don’t think that is a good idea,” Paige said. “She’s just hurting right now.”
“No, I’m way beyond hurting. I never drank through high school. I never had the bad boyfriend experience. I was never even kissed. The first guy to show me any attention was some loser who was old enough to be my dad. I’m not going to get any. I’m too fucking ugly, but I can get fucked up.” She smiled at Tonio. “Are you going to take me to party?”
“When you own a casino, and pretty much every nightclub around, you can find ways of getting fucked up.”
“Let’s go and get fucked up. This is what I want.” She put the bottle down. “I’m ready.”
“Are you sure? You don’t want to change into something pretty?”
Glancing down at her jeans and shirt, she shook her head. “I don’t have anything pretty. This is it, buddy!”
“Fine, fine.” Tonio turned toward his friends. “You guys can see yourselves out, right?”
She didn’t hear what was said as Tonio grabbed her hand, leading her down toward the car. Zara was excited. She was finally going to get to go out and party.
“I can’t wait, this is amazing.”
“How much have you had to drink?” he asked.
“Not enough. Don’t start whining. You’ll kill my buzz, and I love my buzz.” They entered the elevator, and she giggled. “Do you know, I love it in movies where the guy presses her up against the wall.”
“Yeah. It’s so fucking hot, and he’s kissing her like he can’t stand to not kiss her. It’s so hot, and I looove it.” She kept on giggling. The scotch had really worked wonders on her body and her mind. “Have you ever been kissed in an elevator?”
“Nope, and I don’t intend to start now.” He pointed toward a corner. “Someone is always watching. Always.”
Zara gave the camera a wave. “Hello, Mr. Security.”
Tonio laughed this time
The elevator opened, and the chance of snogging was lost. Snogging? Wasn’t that what the British called it? Her own thoughts were starting to entertain her.
Tonio opened the car door for her.
“Thank you, sir,” she said.
Climbing into the passenger seat, she rested her head back, waiting. Tonio climbed in, and they were off, out of the parking lot, into the shiny world.
“Your mom is pretty upset.”
“I don’t care, Tonio. Keep whatever you know to yourself. I’m more than happy to remain in the dark. Nothing good will come of knowing what was going on in her head during the whole of that time.”
“You don’t think you’re being a little unfair?”
“Being the good daughter has taken priority over most of my life. Good grades, no boys, nothing. It sucks. I’ve not been to any parties, and I’ve already said all of this. No, it’s not fair, but you know what, I don’t care. Mom and Dad got me into this mess, and for once, they can just pretend I don’t exist. I want to have fun!” She slammed her hands on the car seat. “Is that too much to ask?”
“No, it’s not.”
“Did you go to parties?” she asked.
“Yes. I’ve gone to parties.”
“Have you fucked a lot of girls?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Do you really think I’m pretty?” she asked.
“You’re just full of questions.”
She shrugged. “You’ve got to be full of something, and today, I feel like having fun, but you keep asking questions. I’d like to have a lot of fun rather than just talk about it.”
“We’re going. We’re heading toward fun.”
“Goody.” She rubbed her hands together. In the back of her mind she knew this wasn’t going to help her. Once she had her fun everything was going to be the same. Nothing had changed. In fact, her life seemed to have gotten a whole lot worse, but for once, all she wanted to do was to forget everything else.
They parked in another underground parking.
“Where are we?” Zara asked.
“You wanted to have fun. To have fun at eleven in the morning, you’ve got to find the right places. Lucky for you, I know them.” He parked his car, and climbed out.
Zara did the same, rounding the car with him. She heard the heavy beat of the music, and they were once again in an elevator.
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